PSPB inter-unit badminton: Top players give open events a miss

With the cream of the crop, Priyanshu Rajawat and Rahul Yadav reached the final in the men's section.

P. C. Thulasi suffered a straight-games defeat to Tanvi Lad in the quarterfinals.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

The open events of the PSPB inter-unit badminton tournament stand reduced to a sham.

Almost every noted player - Sameer Verma, Sai Praneeth, H. S. Prannoy, Ajay Jayaram, Saurabh Verma, Ashwini Ponnappa, N. Sikki Reddy -  irrespective of the unit he or she represented in the team events, didn't bother to enter the open events on Thursday.

As a result of the reduced number of entries, the organiser was left with no choice but to finish the competition on Friday, a day earlier than scheduled.

As things stand, the men’s semifinals are over while the women’s singles, one of the semifinals will be played early on Friday, followed by the final in the afternoon. In short, neither the players
nor the officials looked concerned about the mockery of what was once considered a fiercely competitive competition, with the players turning up for the pride of their employers.

With the creamy layer staying away, Indian Oil’s rising talent Priyanshu Rajawat ousted fourth seed Swaranraj Bora 21-18, 21-16 and second seed Orijit Chaliha 10-21, 21-16, 21-13 to reach the final.

Top seed Rahul Yadav eased past third seed Hirak Jyoti Neog 21-12, 21-11 for a place in the final.

In the women's section, top-seeded youngster Uttejita Rao raced past three rivals without breaking a sweat to make the title-round. She now awaits the winner of the semifinal between defending champion, second seed Rituparna Das and Tanvi Lad.

Indian Oil’s Tanvi, who lost the deciding singles in the team final to ONGC’s P. C. Thulasi on Wednesday, avenged the defeat with a 21-18, 21-18 victory in the quarterfinals.

Having spoilt ONGC’s clean sweep of team titles by winning the veteran’s title, Indian Oil is now aiming to salvage some pride in the singles.